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Sunday, January 27, 2013


Bubs 2 is officially walking. His balance is suspect, but he is choosing to walk, over crawl. He's even picking stuff up while working on his balance. It's amazing the see the differences between the two bubs. Bubs 1 waited until he was good and ready and simply got up and started walking around. Let's see, I found a note in Bubs 1's baby journal that says he didn't start walking until January 2010. Bubs 2 is just a few months ahead of him, but he also had more resources to learn from... like his older brother. Bubs 2 would have started even earlier, but he dabbled in his crawl-to-walk transition. He didn't wait until the task was nearly perfected (like his older bro), Bubs 2 took his time. Just about 10 days ago, he was cobbling together a few steps here and a few steps there. He's now putting many more steps together. He still has that old-man shake, but he's determined. This video was taken about one week ago (from the date of this post) and not only was I glad to see Bubs 2's progress, but I was also glad to see Bubs 1's cameo appearance. I saw humor. He is showing more and more humor. This particular humor, the more slap-stick kind with the towel on the head, etc., is still encouraging. I come from a family that loves humor. 
My grandfather, his great grandfather, left behind his "grandpop isms," which I've been teaching both Bubs 1 and 2 (check out embedded video in next sentence).

Perhaps Bubs 1 is carrying the humor torch? Time will tell. One thing is for sure, if he learns how to wield some witty banter, he'll have the ability to create bridges and cross any social gaps he encounters. His mom and I have been working with him on his interaction skills whenever he's with friends, larger groups especially. We essentially give him positive responses with whatever he says in his interactions. Sometimes his friends look at him as if they notice that he's not acting within a norm. It depends on the situation. We may say, "hey, that's cool bubs!" (so to always encourage his spirit... and confidence). Other times, we'll help him by directing his conversation. Maybe we'll tell him, "Ok bubs, that's interesting. How about you ask (so and so) about..." This last example implies that he can get a little self absorbed about things he likes and keep on talking about them... looooong after anybody is still interested. haha. His rigidness comes and goes, but his mom and I are consistent. For example, he'll tell us that the colors white and red make pink. However, we have to be ready for some flack whenever we use standard, social responses (that he'll experience out in the real world), like "smart boy!" or "you're a smarty pants!" He'll get upset with those comments, because he considers himself either a "good boy" or a "big boy." We can't allow him to limit our responses, because then we're simply perpetuating the problem. It's a battle sometimes. This is where his mom and I try to use more humor when breaking his bullheaded-ness. 

One of my first introductions to understanding the power that humor holds was when I entered the 8th grade, at Lounseberry Hollow Middle School. I was only there for a few days, before I moved out of state, but it was there that I realized the social benefits of "being funny." I have only a couple of memories of those few days and one was when I was sitting in a history class and the teacher was taking attendance. Mr Schmoltz. When he came across my name on the roster, he stopped. "Is your brother (brother's name here)?" he asked me, in front of the class. "Yes," I replied. My brother is seven years my elder, so I was impressed that this teacher made that connection. Although, perhaps not for good reason. "Now class," boomed Mr Schmoltz as he turned towards my classmates, "you have to understand my concerns here. His (while pointing his finger over at me) brother used to sit in the back of my classroom and quietly roar "Yaaaaa" whenever one of his classmates answered a question correctly. It was like being in a stadium." My fellow classmates laughed and I sat there feeling like I just had my social status increased among my peers.

I'm hoping that Bubs 1 can experience the same.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Making Cookies with Mom

 Ginger-bread-man shaped, sugar cookies. A rolling pin too. I haven't seen a scene like this since, well, since never. Neither Bubs 1's mom nor I have any past experience baking cookies with our moms. I should say that his mom and I don't remember baking cookies with our moms. One of the multiple childhood past times that we both are seeking to re live? Or, at least, imagine what the experience must be like from the bub's eyes.

He was interested. His interest lasted about 15 minutes and that's not all that bad for a four-year-old. In fact, that's pretty good. The bubs is pretty good at keeping on task. When he is interested in something, he'll absorb himself in it. This is especially true of his Angry Birds video game. His mom and I noticed this immediately the first time he played it. He didn't put the game down. Since we're focused on helping him fill his social gaps, we didn't want him to dive too deep into the video game world. There is a happy medium here. The bub's mom and I decided to use this game as a learning tool for other lessons. We moved this video game to the potty. This way he had stay on the potty in the company of a game where heckling birds are slingshot into a house of green, grunting pigs. Of course, it worked. We just wanted him to stay on the potty long enough to poop. However, this soon became too much. He was spending too much time on the potty. We then instituted a timer and set up a 10-minute potty time. We then had to teach him how to surrender the Kindle when the timer sounded, without a battle. That took a little time to learn. After a few weeks, he learned  this too. Unknowingly, we taught him to poop in ten minutes while focusing on teaching him to willingly hand over his Angry Birds when the time came. "Going poop" was the lost lesson here, but nonetheless, still the goal.

When I was the bub's age, video games weren't so personal yet. They were housed inside something called an arcade. I never had much interest. I do remember getting Intelevision for xmas one year, well it was for the family. I remember it had a handgun where you could shoot the bouncing dot, on the screen. There was also a tennis-like game, where you used a dial to chase the "ball" from the top to the bottom of the screen (in order to bounce it back to the other side). This system came out around the same time Atari did, but certainly didn't become as popular. I ended up losing interest in video games pretty quick anyway. I was never one that sought out a trip to an arcade. I just always followed my friends into one and didn't mind leaving when the time came.

I didn't have much interest in any one thing as a kid.

I never made cookies with my mom either. The kitchen in the house where I grew up was a hallway. It literally was a hallway. The dry foods closet shared room with the garbage can. My mother used to yell, "Get out of my kitchen!" whenever too many people congregated in there. Interestingly, I recently had a dream about this kitchen. My mother was showing me some improvements made to her hallway-kitchen, as if she were still living there today. I couldn't see her or hear her voice, but I knew it was her. One of the improvements was a bay window put in over the stove. However, everything else was eerily the same as when I lived there in the 70's. It was a dream that had a coming-home-good feeling combined with remorse for not still living there. There is a lot to analyze in this dream, but I'll just leave it at that. Who wants to hear about how a kid was pulled from his childhood before it was time. 

Am I beginning to sound like that old person who trumpets how they had to walk 12 blocks, in shoes stuffed with newspaper, just to catch their school bus as a kid?

No. I only had to walk a quarter mile to catch my school bus.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Mom out of Town

Bubs 1 playing with Bubs 2
Bubs 2 before heading to daycare
Mom left for a conference in New Orleans four days ago and left the three of us guys home to fend for ourselves. Now that I've been working for the past six months, I almost forgot that I am a well-qualified dad for this situation. I do have three years of at-home dad experience. My credentials include seasoned cooking skills and multi-tasking abilities
Bubs 1 before preschool
necessary for loading into and out of automobiles.

Last drop!
The last few days went well. Nothing changed too much except that we all missed mom being around the house. I also missed her half of the help. For example, the mornings now included getting two bubs ready, instead of just one. Mom normally handles one, while I get the other. This way we can both enjoy our cups of coffee - a necessity. However, I wasn't able to even finish one cup on either Thursday or Friday morning, because time was not on my side. Getting up earlier may have helped, but that didn't happen.

The past few nights have been a new frontier, because I typically am the "transporter" of the bubs, when he wakes for milk in the middle of the night. He cries. I wake. I then get him and bring him to mom, who nurses him in bed. Now that he's just over one year old, he does sleep through the night, but there needs to be an 11pm to 12am feeding in order for him to make it all the way through. We go to bed relatively early and this means that we have to wake up for that last feeding of the night. So as I was saying, these last three nights were different. I had to deliver the nipple. I did, but it was a cold, latex nipple connected to a bottle of cold cow's milk. It was organic cow's milk, at least. You know, the kind of cow's milk that we used to get before corporate agriculture began and started producing tainted milk... and then found a new market by returning to the old market by calling it "organic." Enough of my "fair" market ranting... back to the cold nipple. I had the bottle sitting in the fridge and low and behold, it worked. I got Bubs 2 back to sleep after he sucked down some milk in timely fashion. Very soon, mom and I will be pushing up the last-feeding-of-the-night to about 9pm and administering water for any pre-dawn awakenings. Life is going to get a little tougher for Bubs 2.  But that's how we operate around here.

Sharing Angry Bird Pillows
Ah... Saturday arrived. This morning, Bubs 1 walked into the kitchen where Bubs 2 and I were eating breakfast and watching a little morning news on the kitchen tv. Bubs 1 had each of this two Angry Birds pillows in each hand. He just woke. He was groggy. I said, "Good morning, bubs." He didn't respond. Then I asked him to say "good morning" to his brother, who was sitting in his high chair and smiling at his older sibling. Bubs 1 instantly smiled back and walked over to his chair-locked brother and in his Grandma Helen's voice said, "Where are my boys? Where are my kisses?" These words come from his grandma on a previous visit. Bubs 1 knows that this is humor. He loves it too. He'll even use the same voice and pattern, but change up the words/content. He's expressing wittiness.

"Can you put (Bubs 2) down so I can play with him?" Bubs 1 asks. I oblige and place Bubs 2 down on the dining room floor and the two brothers play. I figure it's a good time to start prepping for some Wild-Card-Saturday-NFL-Football chicken soup.

I'm making some of my "famous" (self ordained) chicken soup.  The recipe is actually handed down from my mother. People loved her chicken soup, myself included. She used fat egg noodles and chicken wings in her soup. I use the same. In fact, I'll use chicken thighs (like today) too. The meat ends up falling off the bone anyway, so cutting it all up is not necessary. The secret to a rich chicken broth is to boil the skin in the pot. You have to bleed that rich fat from the skin into the water. I pull the skin out after. Onions, carrots, celery and garlic diced and frying in a little olive oil in the pot (before adding the chicken and water). I'm not sure how my mother prepared it since I actually never watched her make it. I've only acquired her recipe, which is in safe keeping with an aunt of mine. I don't have many pictures of her and no videos. She's been gone more than half my life now and that increases the value of any remaining artifact.

Bubs 2 is due for a nap soon. Bubs 1 will likely want to watch some Spiderman. He is into Spiderman lately. In fact, he's really into Spiderman lately. "May I watch Spiderman and his amazing friends, please?" he asked me. I replied, "Great words, bubs. Sure thing." Spiderman has the coolest uniform. We even painted a clothes hamper, which I just finished building for Bubs 1, in Spiderman's colors. I'll add some red spider web, when I figure out how to do that. For now, the hamper is operational so I brought it up from the workbench today, and put it in his room. After the bubs finished his bath, he saw the new hamper. He lifted the lid and closed it gently. He genuinely stood there and admired my work. It put a smile on my face.
Bubs 2 awakes. Let's have a little ice cream. I asked both bubs if they wanted ice cream. Bubs 2 hasn't the vocabulary, nor the mechanics to deliver an answer, but it's assumed. However, Bubs 1 gladly answered my question with, "Yes. I do need ice cream dad. I do. May I have some ice cream, please?" How can I resist that? Those are some impressive words for a four-year old. I don't know many 40-year olds who can speak that well.

Ice Cream today
Bubs 1 sacked out
Now we're chillin some more. I'm sitting here on the couch watching the AFC Wild-Card game (boring). I'm an NFC fan. Bubs 1 fell asleep on the other end of the couch. He doesn't nap in the afternoons normally, but he's tired today. Bubs 2 is mulling around the floor, which is swamped with blocks, stuffed animals, Matchbox cars and Thomas trains. He's moving from one toy to the next. Once in a while he'll even take a couple of steps before flopping back onto the floor where he's visibly more comfortable with crawling.

I'm going to get a bowl of soup.
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